6 Brilliant Art Projects That Ruin Classic Kids' Characters
If there's one thing the Internet excels at, it's ruining your childhood (just Google "Pikachu Princess Peach Rule 34 Anal" to see what we mean). But it takes a true artist to really turn a beloved character from your youth into something that makes you want to sleep with the lights on. So in the spirit of Halloween, let's take an unflinching gaze upon ...
Dissected Cartoon Characters
As children, we probably didn't spend much time wondering what our favorite characters looked like with an exposed chest cavity and visible digestive tract. Unless you were one of those kids who had to sit in the coatroom because you couldn't stop biting the other children. Now, thanks to artist-designer Jason Freeny and his anatomically correct re-creations of fictional personalities, we no longer have to go through life not knowing whether Papa Smurf has a colon.
Lego Guy does not.
Freeny's portfolio spans the Saturday-morning pantheon of cartoons, newer prime-time shows like Family Guy, video games, and lunatic toys of his own design, ruining the joy of virtually every character he touches by highlighting the humanity within the fantasy. His most disturbing specimen, however, is the most anatomically incorrect Lucy Van Pelt we've ever seen.
"Charlie just snapped. He kept repeating, "You pull the pigskin, I pull your skin."
Unlike the rest of his designs, Freeny's Lucy (based on a vinyl figure sculpted by professional crazy person Ron English) was insane to begin with -- she has frog monsters for hair, some kind of tiny alien for a nose, and two Snoopy heads for breasts. The bisection of such an uncomfortably sexualized monster reveals five different skulls, though luckily it doesn't extend low enough to reveal the anatomical structure of the elastic Noid face living in her crotch.
For reference, here is the original figure:
Well, this is a more expected type of creepy.
We have no idea what compelled him to give a grade school know-it-all dimensional void lords for hair and a juicy rap-video ass, but we're pretty sure each and every one of us is now on a government watchlist. And while we're on the subject ...
Every Cartoon Character You Have Ever Loved, Reduced to a Skeleton
South Korean artist Hyungkoo Lee has a Bachelor's in fine arts from Hongik University in Korea, a Master's from Yale, and a PhD in creeping us right the hell out of the window. A recent exhibit of Lee's explores the eternal question: "What would Donald Duck's nephews look like if they were dead for a few years and then got resurrected by a voodoo curse?" The answer, of course, is "Nothing you would ever want to see."
Now wish you never did, using Huey's wishbone.
Lee's series was initially on display at the Arario Gallery in Cheonan, South Korea, though it's been featured across the globe. The goal of these resin skeletons is to examine the link between human beings and cartoon characters, which are a human creation. Unlike humans, cartoons are immortal figures, frozen in time. By re-creating them as skeletons with fully realized anatomical structures, Lee is forcing us to consider these characters as simultaneously alive and dead. Honestly, as many times as Elmer Fudd has shot Daffy Duck in the face, this is a bridge you'd think we'd have crossed before now.
But that's kind of what makes these so freaky -- these cartoon characters are old. In real time, yeah, they would all be nothing but dry bones by now, insects having eaten away their flesh. So here's Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, as they would really exist in a world in which the gaping maw of Death awaits all living things:
A mercy compared to the usual cycle of TNT and rebirth.
And here's Bugs Bunny, as he would be discovered in some old shoebox behind the Warner Bros. back lot:
"What's up, doc?"
And here's Goofy, death having frozen him in a position of taking an eternal shit:
They found Elvis the same way.
According to his artist's statement, Lee took it as a challenge to sculpt the skeletal structure of Looney Tunes and Disney personalities without any external "figural proof," because minimum-wage Warner Bros. animators never bothered to diagram Foghorn Leghorn's musculature. Lee spent several years on schematics and anatomical studies in order to craft as correct a version of these characters as possible, delighting serial killers the world over by providing an excruciatingly detailed map of Mickey Mouse's vivisected skull where once there was only our involuntary, terror-provoked imagination.
"M-E-N, T-A-L, S-P-I-N-E."
Pokemon, as They Would Exist in Real Life
Pokemon are cutesy monsters forced to battle each other to the death for children's amusement, so there is an undeniable element of darkness to the otherwise cuddly animal warriors. A mysterious Internet artist known only as 0liv3 decided to pursue that idea to its logical conclusion and created a series of realistic versions of Pokemon that are every bit as horrific as enslaved monster gladiators would probably be ...
Here, for instance, we have kaiju Grimace.
Each one sports some kind of terrifying feature, be it reptilian skin, crazy eyes, or an insatiable desire for the flesh of its own children. Some even have humanoid faces eerily reminiscent of Golden Girls standout Rue McClanahan:
With an auricle piercing. Rue was a rebel.
Others are just straight-up horror beasts, with demon tongues, melted flesh, and faces contorted in perpetual agony:
Lickitung is sad because he can't close his mouth.
Mew didn't iron her skin right because she can't see.
Mr. Mime is scariest because he is a mime.
And Pikachu, the most recognizable Pokemon of them all, is an electric rat with an extremely limited vocabulary:
The red on his cheek is his previous trainer.
But what about Pikachu's evolved form, Raichu? That guy just looks like a fuzzy marshmallow, how could that possibly be nightmare fuel?
This guy's too cool. He probably wears his cap backward.
Oh. That's how. Raichu looks like a superhuman gorilla hamster that would pay good money to see two bikini-clad truck stop waitresses arm wrestle over a pack of cigarettes, and now we don't want to Internet anymore for a while.
Realistic Cereal Mascots Are Terrifying
The gritty art of Peruvian designer and illustrator Guillermo Fajardo was never intended to appear on the packaging of a mainstream consumer product. One look at the urgently insane terror portraits he concocted for his "cereal collection" should tell you why -- no child would ever want to eat cereal ever again, which is the exact opposite impact advertising is traditionally meant to have.
"Tony has all the vitamin D you'll need."
In Fajardo's mind, the Trix Rabbit looks like Roberto Benigni failing miserably to entertain children at a birthday party, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is terrifyingly serious about you eating some goddamned Frosted Flakes. Meanwhile, Cap'n Crunch is hitting the high seas with a catastrophic case of shingles:
"The Crunch Berries are your souls!"
Count Chocula is pouring a pitcher of fucking blood into his cereal, his hands, cuffs, and neckerchief stained with the final shrieking ounces of some poor villager's life.
In case you didn't know, yes, vampires get erections.
We love cereal, but we don't think we'd be able to enjoy a bowl of Froot Loops with any vigor if we had Fajardo's godforsaken mascots staring us in the mouth. The characters on these boxes would look more at home in an online child-predator database than on any food item, much less ones normally decorated with cartoon rabbits and leprechauns.
Horror Follows Paddington Bear Wherever He Goes
Since 1958, Paddington Bear's adventures have been translated to over 40 different languages. To gear up for the impending release of the Paddington Bear movie, the studios released a still of the titular bear standing in front of Buckingham Palace, ready to delight a generation of children who have no idea who the hell he is.
All hail the furry flasher!
The fact that Paddington looks like a mutantly hairy Gorton's Fisherman aside, there's something vaguely creepy about this picture. It looks like a photograph the Joker would mail to the Hall of Justice to let them know the queen was in danger. This is the type of image you find in a serial killer's scrapbook. The Internet collectively seized on Paddington's unsettling CGI representation and started Photoshopping him into scenes from classic horror movies, like The Exorcist and The Shining.
The scary bear is frightening that adorable girl.
And now he's stalking the noble Overlook lumberjack!
The Creepy Paddington meme even has its own Tumblr, where users are constantly uploading newly Photoshopped images of wildly varying quality. So far, the harmless children's story bear has shown up as a murderer, cannibal, demon, ghost, zombie, Satan, and even as a spectator on the grassy knoll, probably acting as Lee Harvey Oswald's spotter on the ground.
"Lee Harvey Oswald" actually does sound like the name of an English teddy bear.
Obviously, the movie itself will be completely family-oriented, featuring no gore, minimal Satanism, and only the briefest full-frontal nudity. But we figure it's going to take years for poor Paddington to shake that "creepy stalker" vibe.
"Buy me for the kids. We'll play ... forever."
Teddy Ruxpin Hive Mind
For those of you too young to remember, Teddy Ruxpin was a paradoxically off-putting stuffed bear with a tape deck built into his back that, when activated, would shudder to terrifying life to read you a story. His dead eyes would sightlessly scan the room as his mouth moved along with the audio of the tape, all coming together to create the illusion that your parents were trying to kill you with a haunted toy. Now, imagine an entire web of Teddy Ruxpins, hanging together like some unholy orchard of pod children, moving in choreographed unison as if they were part of one collective hive mind.
Haha, just kidding! You don't need to imagine it, because Sean Hathaway went ahead and built it:
That's Hathaway's installation at the 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire. In collaboration with sound technician Carlos Severe Marcelin, Hathaway used Arduino boards to reprogram the plush bears. He then hung 80 Teddy Ruxpins on a white wall, interconnected by a matrix of wires as if they were caught in the web of some techno-fantasy hell spider.
It's like that Keanu Reeves movie, the one with all the bears.
Hathaway left the servos within each bear intact, giving them the ability to emote with basic facial gesturing. When the installation is activated, each bear is illuminated in turn as it recites crypt-voiced aphorisms, symbolizing the loss of humanity's individuality. The end result looks like someone trying to explain the Appian Way crucifixions to a bunch of second-graders.
"I just wonder and understand that maybe they did what they did to escape that empty feeling." -actual words.
At the end of the project, Hathaway found himself with a surplus of bears, so he gave them out for free, along with the open-source code necessary to replicate his terrible experiment. Some people just won't be happy until their lives serve as the prologue to a horror movie.
For more unfortunate redesigns, check out 5 Superheroes Rendered Ridiculous by Gritty Reboots and Video Game Zoology: How 5 8-Bit Characters Would Really Look.